Evaluating half of the return in the Orlando Arcia trade
Patrick Weigel is one half of the pair of right-handed pitcher that the Brewers got in return in the Orlando Arcia trade with Atlanta, announced on Tuesday.
Arcia has been a fan favorite for his relative roster longevity, acrobatic defensive, dugout presence, ability to get on base or drive in a run in critical moments, love for snacks, and fun and joy on the baseball field.
Craig Counsell reflects on Orlando Arcia’s tenure with the Brewers, both on and off the field. pic.twitter.com/k9BpyBIpQd
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 6, 2021
Arcia hasn’t become the offensive presence the Brewers hoped he’d grow into, and his defense fared far better in an eye test than a Statcast profile. By the time Luis Urias got the nod as the Brewers’ starting shortstop, the Brewers had already been looking for a good return for their statistically underperforming yet fun and beloved shortstop.
Enter Patrick Weigel and Chad Sobotka, a pair of major league-ready, top prospect pitchers. This post will focus on Patrick Weigel, while Chad Sobotka will be profiled in a separate post.
Weigel is Atlanta’s #14 Prospect, according to Baseball America. At 26, he has had two separate rises to the major leagues. He dominated Double-A in 2016 and 2017 with a 2.54 ERA and 0.84 WHIP across the two seasons. In 2016, he was among the top pitchers in Atlanta’s farm system in terms of wins (11), ERA (2.35), and strikeouts (152).
In his Triple-A call-up season in 2017, Weigel put up 5.27 and 1.44 WHIP before an MRI found two tears in his ulnar collateral ligament. Tommy John Surgery sidelined him for over a year, causing him to miss much of the 2017 season and nearly all of 2018. He successfully returned in 2019, producing a 2.35 ERA and a solid 1.13 WHIP across Double and Triple-A. He spent 2020 at Atlanta’s alternate site and got called up for one big league appearance in which the Nationals soundly knocked him around.
At 6’6, 240 pounds, Weigel is an imposing mound presence and physically profiles as a starter, but his injury history, path to the big leagues, and pitch arsenal make him a better bullpen piece or swing starter, at least in the near future.
Weigel works a mix of fastball, slider, and changeup. His primary pitch is a mid-90s fastball that reaches into the upper 90s. It’s a better pitch for Weigel in shorter appearances, which offers him potential as a multi-inning reliever. He spent most of his time at the Alternate Site in 2020 developing his slider, his secondary pitch, for more sweep and break. Weigel will have to see how it plays, but his new slider could be ready to join his fastball as a reliable swing-and-miss pitch. An average changeup is also available to Weigel. He uses it infrequently, likely because he struggles with its placement.
Weigel is major league-ready. As a likely call-up, his next stop is the Brewers’ Alternate Site. Many variables, including his performance, the club’s needs, and the league’s long-term plan for alternate sites, remain for Weigel. Still, he is likely to head to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds from the Alternate Site and get called up as a depth piece in the Brewers’ bullpen at some point in the season.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball America, Baseball Reference, and Fangraphs.